News Archive

Hybrid Rockets

Posted: 05-Oct-2005

I've just added pages for a pair of new rockets designed for Hypertek and SkyRipper Hybrid motors. Iapetus is designed for 400cc Hypertek J motors and is basically complete, needing only rail buttons and a few rivets/screws for the payload bay. Epimetheus is in the design stage, and will accept the entire range of 38mm Skyripper Hybrids. Hopefully it should be ready for my first event of 2006.

ALRS 2005

Posted: 04-Oct-2005

My second HPR expedition to Switzerland was just as enjoyable as the first, despite the inclement weather. At least on the edge of the Jura the rain clouds coming over the mountains is scenic! The banquet in the Hotel was excellent, as was the company of Dutch, Swiss, German and other nationalities of rocketeers.
Highlight of the weekend had to be the Swiss/Dutch X-Wing drag race on H238's, even if the RSO/LCO did 'sabotage' the launch controller. The scale Natter was fantastic piece of engineering, and flew just perfectly.

KLOB 2005

Posted: 28-Sep-2005

The Saturday of KLOB 2005 just has to be one of the best days of rocket launching ever in the UK, and the weather was fantastic! Highlights were Eberhard Aigner from Germany successfully launching his beautiful Level 3 rocket on an M1400 to over 16,000ft. That was fantastic to watch. Graham Platt and Sean O'Niell both successfully launched superb Hypertek Level 3 certs. I managed to get a quick Level 2 cert flight in too, even though it was with my Rebel Pirate on a Pro38 J motor, instead of the Hypertek.
Sunday was somewhat breezy in comparison to the previous day, but still many rockets were flown. Numerous high-performance rockets were still being let off all day, as well as even more Hybrids. We believe this event to have the highest number (or proportion?) of hybrid flights of any event - a statistic that needs to be confirmed at some point.
My thanks go to all who helped to organise, set up the range and hut, and clear up afterwards. A big thanks also to all who did RSO duty, and congratulations to the many who passed Level Certs.

Website Updates

Posted: 30-Jul-2005

Finally added some more useful content to the website. Firstly added a Chronology of UK Rocketry History, from the 1930's up to the present day. Also added more detailed reviews for some rocket kits, but best of all, phase 1 of the interactive Rocksim web interface. It is not very interactive yet, but for some of the kit reviews the webpage is generated directly from the Rocksim file. Take a look at this example for the PML Pterodactyl.

Level 2

Posted: 12-Jun-2005

Well I wanted to fly my Level 2 at More LARFs, but the weather was bad. Then I wanted to fly the Hybrid Level2 Cert, but I didn't manage to finish it in time, and had to leave early to catch a flight to Germany. I'm now planning on lobbing the cert flight at IRW. I'll decide on the day whether to fly the Rebel Pirate on a Pro38 J motor, or to fly the seriously modified Amraam3 on a Hypertek J250. The Pro38 is winning at the moment, but only because of the relative hassle of karting Hybrid kit across the Scottish bogs.
Most importantly, I now have 4 J, 2 I and 2 H motors stashed away, so should be up for a decent set of flights at IRW and/or KLOB. I also have ALRS VI pencilled in, so one or 2 more flights should be possible there too :)

Level 3

Posted: 22-Jan-2005

Something I've been mulling over for some time is to take the plunge and get the hattrick of Level Certs. OK I still haven't done the L2 cert flight yet, but I have 2 simple single-stage rockets and one hybrid capable of doing the L2 flight. Even if I have a failure, I have at least one back up solution to fly at the same launch event. So I have started a 'Level3 Cert Blog' just to keep track of ideas and problems and what I have done to overcome them.

Tripoli UK

Posted: 9-Dec-2004

The new Tripoli UK website is finally up and running. Tripoli UK (prefecture #108) was originally set up by Ben Jarvis et al in the 1990's, but Cath Bashford took over as Prefect in September after successfully gaining L3 certification at BALLS. A members only section with more features is in development, and is expected to come online real soon now!


Posted: 19-Sept-2004

Just back from ALRS V, and what a weekend. The site there is fantastic, large, open and virtually no wind. The weather was fantastic on the Saturday, so much so that I got sunburn. I managed to fly the Pterodactyl Jr on an I218-Redline prepped by Gary Rosenfield of Aerotech. The rocket landed about 100m or so from the range. I also flew the LOC Legacy on a small F20-7 EconoJet, but the delay was a bit long.
Highlights of the weekend were Chiel Klijn of the Netherlands flying a trio of TinTin rockets, ranging from an H motor up to an M motor (I think - TBC). The mid-size one arced over and ploughed into the ground under power, but the largest one suffered a fatal torque on one of 2 fin pods, which caused the fins to be ripped off. Team Ariane launched the huge Ariane 44LP model, on an M1939, 2x J420 and 2x J350 (tbc), complete with booster and second stage separation (no motor in the 2nd stage). All 6 bits returned on their own chutes. There was some minor damage, caused by the ejection charges I think, but it is repairable.


Posted: 11-Sep-2004

Less than a week to go to my first 'overseas' launch, despite living overseas for 5 years now! I shall be attending ALRS V in Switzerland, and hopefully should be popping off a few Aerotechs - the first in a long time. Watch this space for a report.

Canterbury Cup/International Rocket Week

Posted: 31-Aug-2004

Well the start of a busy rocketry period... I just attended the Canterbury Cup at Pete's Farm, not to compete, but to take part in the UKRA 'demo' flights. I managed to launch the Pterodactyl Jr again on an I287SS. After that it was a mass convoy (well me, Mike+Mupp, and Damian+kids) up to the IRW in Largs. Weather there was not so good, so didn't get much flown. My Art Applewhite Qubit suffered a CATO on its first flight, but the Saucer flew superbly twice.
Whilst at the IRW, I did take the opportunity to pass my Level 2 Exam withflying colours! 100% to be precise - Beat that!

Major Site Overhaul

Posted: 12-Apr-2004 finally received a major overhaul in late November - early December. I wanted to rid the site of unnecessary frames and tables, and provide a clean, fast-loading page which is 100% XHTML compliant. The site was refurbished to be easy on the eye, and easy to navigate using minimal HTML markup, no slow downloading images for navigation links, and no unnecessary scripting.


Posted: 30-Sept-2003

Managed to get to KLOB Rocketry event at Pete's Farm as well this year. Launched the Small Endeavor on a Pro38 H143-SmokeySam for its first flight, and followed that up with another I287-SS powered Matrix. At the time I thought it was a bit breezy to fly the Pterodactyl Jr on either the I212 or the I287, but in hindsight I'm regretting it.

International Rocket Week

Posted: 1-Sept-2003

Managed to attend the complete International Rocket Week in Largs again. Weather the first couple of days was worse than miserable, but the weekend was amazing. I got sunburnt again. Only flew 1 HPR... the trusty Pterodactyl Jr on an Pro38 I287-SmokeySam (4Grain), but entered into the glider contest, and also laucnhed a 4 D12 cluster. This year I had to travel from Germany, so took the SuperFast Ferry from Zeebrugge to Rosyth. Journey time is around 17 hours, but is certainly recommended!


Posted: Jun-2003

Actually managed to get to the UKRA 2003 event after missing BigEARS. I managed 1 flight of the Matrix (I287), but the weather turned before I could fly the Pterodactyl and the Viper 4D Cluster :-(

However, I did finally go the way of the gas powered rocket... expect to see a Hypertek Hybrid powered AMRAAM at IRW or KLOB.

Italy, Holland, France, Germany ... where next?

Posted: Apr-2003

After a brief period worknig in Italy (well 2 weeks in Frascati) a few months working from Home and a ski vacation in the French Alps I am now back working on Envisat.

Back in Kourou, French Guiana

Posted: Oct-2002

Well no K-Lob for me this year, nor a trip to a US launch. Just spent 3 weeks in Kourou, at the Ariane Launch Site in French Guiana. This time was for the Rosetta launch campaign. Not much has changed, only this time was the dry season, so lots of fires and NO rain!

International Rocket Week 2002

Posted: Sept-2002

Managed to spend a whole week at the IRW (International Rocket Week) in Scotland. Weather was beautiful for the whole week, but strong breeze at the HPR site. Flew 4 HPR, but after a very long walk recovering an I-powered rocket decided to concentrate on photography instead. Watch this space for the pics!

UKRA 2002

Posted: Jun-2002

Only a month after the last launch I made it back over the North Sea for the UKRA 2002 launch at Pete's Farm. I flew the X-Calibur on a Pro38 H100-10 motor, but regretted it! It flew to 3500-4000ft (estimated) very quickly, but despite having a perfect lock when it landed, it was lost to the crops.

Current planning is that I will have to go back to Kourou, French Guiana for another launch campaign later in the year. This time it will be for about 6 weeks for the Rosetta launch.

Big EARS & Happy Birthday!

Posted: May-2002

Managed to attend the BigEARS rocket event, and managed one flight, despite the wind. Flew the Pterodactyl Jr on the Saturday, which I think is the only rocket I've ever flown on my birthday!

Envisat launch success!

Posted: Mar-2002

Well I didn't get back to Kourou for the Envisat launch, but had to make do with watching it from the Space Expo in Noordwijk, Holland.

International Rocket Week 2001

Posted: Aug-2001

I actually acheived a record number of launches at the International Rocket Week in Largs. I managed 14 launches, when previously I recorded a maximum of about 4 launches! Time for a mass building session again over the winter.

Back in civiliastion

Posted: Jul-2001

Back from the tropics. Two months in French Guiana was probably the best time I've ever had. Fortunately it was not all work in the Space Centre, and we did manage to get ino the jungle a few times and to Devil's Island. Time for a mass building session to prepare for the IRW in Largs

European Spaceport... here we come!

Posted: May-2001

Well I'm finally off to the Ariane launch site in Kourou, French Guiana for the first part of the Envisat satellite launch campaign. Will be there until early July, performing the reintegration of the SAR antenna as well as general electrical testing. goes live

Posted: Nov-2000 has finally gone online. This is my new personal rocketry homepage which complements the existing Guide to UK Rocketry.

Having maintained the Guide to UK Rocketry site for many years to provide a service to other Model and High-Power Rocketeers in the UK, I finally decided to do my own personal page. will contain the details about my rockets and related projects, as well as my personal involvement in the rocketry community.

The Guide to UK Rocketry site will still exist and is due for a major overhaul during the winter months. The URL will remain the same for continuity, because everybody knows about the site and almost all major rocketry sites link to it. With a total hit-count in excess of 10000, and still many hits a day, I will keep this guide running for as long as I feel it provides a genuine service to the rocketry community. This site outdates almost all UK Rocketry sites, pre-dating all except STAAR, Aspire and Richard Osborne's!

Rocket Kit Purchases

Posted: Oct-2000

Recent additions have been made to my list of "rockets in progress". These include LOC Stovi, Loc Viper IV and PML XCalibur.

Having spent more time attending rocketry events in 2000, despite moving abroad in mid-1999 I have had the opportunity to get back into the hobby a bit. The extra income has certainly been useful, and has enabled me to buy a total of 11 rocket kits this year, as well as numerous parts and accessories.

The real gem has to be the VB Wild Thing, which many people wanted but couldn't afford. As so many people want to see it fly, I will save it's maiden flight until UKRA 2001 or IRW 2001. It is basically constructed, but requires some reinforcements and a paint scheme suitable for I300-J350 power. Second flight will be an I and 7F motors

The remainder of the list includes: PML Pterodactyl, PML Matrix, PML X-Calibur, VB BoB, VB Buzzard, LOC IV, LOC Stovi, LOC Viper IV (to replace lost Viper III), LOC parts for replica Space Needle, and finally a Rogue Interdictor

Pterodactyl has been built and flown in under a month, Matrix is ready to fly, albeit in a bare Quantum Tube grey livery. BoB, Stovi and Viper IV are being built.